Roethlisberger Ruled Out
Head Coach John Harbaugh joked with his players Friday, saying he expected to see Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger limp out of the tunnel Sunday like New York Knick Willis Reed in the 1970 NBA Finals.
But there will be no dramatic Big Ben entrance at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens will face a Roethlisberger-less Steelers once again.
Pittsburgh's All-Pro quarterback was ruled out on Friday's final injury report, meaning third-stringer Charlie Batch will get the start. Backup Byron Leftwich was also ruled out after he sustained a rib injury against the Ravens in their meeting two weeks ago.
Roethlisberger was limited in practice all week, but reports indicated that he still had pain in his ribs and shoulders, and he told reporters that he was concerned he may not have enough zip on the ball.
Batch started last week against the Cleveland Browns and completed 20 of 34 passes for 199 yards. But he also threw three interceptions and was sacked six times. The 37-year-old veteran had a quarterback rating of 38.7 in Pittsburgh's 20-14 loss.
It won't be the first time Batch has started against the Ravens.
He stepped in for Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh in 2010, a game the Ravens won 17-14 after T.J. Houshmandzadeh's touchdown catch in the final minutes. Batch was 12-of-21 for 141 yards and an interception that day.
The Ravens hold a 5-0 record against the Steelers when Roethlisberger is out, but they're not overreacting to the news.
"We're still playing ball," safety Bernard Pollard said after hearing reports that Roethlisberger was out. "We're not worried about who's lining up at quarterback. We're playing ball against whoever is under center. It's not about them, it's about us. We've got our own issues."
On Wednesday, Harbaugh said the Ravens would prepare for the Steelers offense as opposed to a particular quarterback.
"Their offense is very formidable," Harbaugh said. "Whatever quarterback ends up playing in this game, he's going to be very capable of running their offense very well. We've seen that before. We've seen it from experience."
Ellerbe A Game-Time Decision
With Ray Lewis out, the Ravens have relied on linebacker Dannell Ellerbe to fill his place. Now Ellerbe, who is second on the team in tackles (60) may be out too.
Ellerbe (ankle, knee and finger) did not practice all week. He does have a chance to play Sunday, as he is listed as questionable.
Ellerbe told reporters on Friday that he's a game-time decision.
"I'm getting better every day," Ellerbe said. "They said the swelling's looking good. It's just the strength and the pain."
Ellerbe said he didn't turn his right ankle last week against the San Diego Chargers. He said somebody fell on it.
Cornerback Chris Johnson (hamstring) and defensive end Pernell McPhee (thigh) are also questionable after being limited in practice all week.
Johnson forced a key fumble in Pittsburgh during his first game with the Ravens, but was injured later in the first quarter. McPhee has missed five straight games since the bye.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith (abs) has been ruled out for the third straight week.
Dickson Doubtful For Steelers
Tight end Ed Dickson is doubtful to play after suffering a knee injury in San Diego. He didn't practice all week.
Dickson didn't suffer any ligament damage and Harbaugh described it as a sprain. The third-year tight end said he was just happy that the injury wasn't more serious.
"When you see the play on film, it looks pretty bad," Dickson told reporters Wednesday. "It swelled up pretty good. I'm just trying to maintain treatment. I've been living in the treatment center."
If Dickson doesn't suit up, Dennis Pitta would get the start and veteran Billy Bajema would likely be active to help with blocking.
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin (knee), defensive tackle Terrence Cody (elbow), cornerback Corey Graham (illness), wide receiver Jacoby Jones (ankle), Pitta (neck), Pollard (chest), safety Ed Reed (shoulder), wide receiver Torrey Smith (thigh) and linebacker Terrell Suggs (ankle) are all probable.
Steelers Rule Out LB Woodley
Pittsburgh will be without one of its top pass rushers, but he will be replaced by the player who leads the team in sacks.
Pro Bowler LaMarr Woodley (ankle) has been ruled out after suffering the injury in the first quarter of last week's game in Cleveland. He has 7.5 career sacks against the Ravens.
Woodley will be replaced by Jason Worilds, who leads the team with five sacks. He had two sacks last week against the Browns after stepping in for Woodley.
Pittsburgh Hurting On O-Line
The Steelers are banged up along their offensive line.
They ruled out starting right tackle Mike Adams (ankle) and left guard Willie Colon (knee) is questionable. Starting left tackle Max Starks is dealing with a back injury but is probable.
Rookie Kelvin Beachum appears to be the candidate to start at right tackle. The seventh-round pick was the sixth-to-last overall selection.
If Colon can't play, center Maurkice Pouncey may slide to guard and Doug Legursky would start at center. Rookie first-round pick David DeCastro is another possibility to play guard, although it would be his first career game after being activated from injured reserve (knee) on Monday.
Polamalu, Brown Probable
Two key starters are expected to return against the Ravens after missing the matchup two weeks ago.
Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu and wide receiver Antonio Brown were both listed as probable after fully practicing all week.